The Significance of Male Trauma

The Significance of Male Trauma

Content Warning: This article deals with sensitive subject matter around the topic of sexual abuse.

 

Over the last year and a half, news surrounding sexual assault and men of power has been featured in headlines worldwide. What started as a series of allegations against media mogul Harvey Weinstein led to an avalanche of information exposing the underbelly of sexual coercion across industries. Hundreds of women came forward to tell their brave stories. Within this tumultuous time, a few courageous men made headlines by telling their truths as well.

In October 2017, actor Anthony Rapp told a personal story that he had withheld for many years. When he was 14 years old, unwanted sexual advances were made toward him by older actor Kevin Spacey. After the story went public, Spacey expressed remorse, blaming intoxication and stating that he did not remember the situation occurring. Over the following weeks, 15 more people came forward with allegations, and Spacey was removed from many projects he was signed on to or had recently filmed, including his starring role as the president of the United States on hit show House of Cards.

That same month, actor Terry Crews’ also came forward with his personal story, tweeting that he had been groped by agent Adam Venit at an industry event in front of his wife. He received much media recognition for his honesty and was honoured at Time’s Person of the Year Awards.

What makes these stories unique is the rarity in which we hear men’s voices on the survivor’s end of sexual trauma. As the party less often and openly affected by a culture of sexual harassment, it can be the easy choice for men to stay out of the conversation. However, if a change is to be made, then men must join in, and hold other men accountable. Terry Crews decided to tweet his story not only for himself but to elevate others. In speaking about Weinstein’s victims, he said, “My whole mission was to give them strength. Don’t accept the shame that people are giving you. Because that’s what it was. They were being shamed. They were being victimized again. I just couldn’t stand for it.”

With men like Terry Crews and Anthony Rapp serving as examples alongside hundreds of brave women and members of the trans community, progress can be made. In a culture replete with toxic masculinity, vulnerability can be the antidote. By telling their stories, and standing as allies with other survivors, they serve as role models for the boys and men watching worldwide.

 

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